Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why Traditional Salary Ranges May Not Be Relevant in Today's Economy

Why Traditional Salary Ranges May Not Be Relevant in Today's Economy
by:  Ann Bares on January 23, 2013, 10:15 AM

Our salary ranges are not serving us as well as they once may have.
We know it. Unhappily, most employees know it, too.

My Compensation Cafe colleague Margaret O'Hanlon called attention to this reality last week in her post Do You Know What Your Salary Ranges Mean?

Margaret notes that the traditional salary range model, which communicates the essence of the deal we offer employees, no longer delivers on its purported promises.
This is tough to deny and not hard to understand. The salary range architecture most organizations use today gained much of its popularity in a period when base pay was moving at a much faster pace (e.g., 8-10 percent annually in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s compared to the tepid 3 percent of today).

The key issue about salary ranges

But what I found particularly interesting was the debate that popped up in the comment stream to Margaret’s post. At its essence, as I read it, the central question raised was this:
Do – should – salary ranges still reflect the cornerstone of the employment deal in that they outline and communicate the rules for setting and growing base pay?
Are they an antiquated theoretical construct whose time has come and gone, an idea no longer in step with the realities of the real world?
My thoughts? Yes … and yes.
I’ve had the chance to work with many organizations who don’t have a formal salary structure, either smaller organizations yet to put in place any pay rules and policies, or, more established businesses who have (at some point) ditched their structures in an attempt to foster more “flexibility.” What I’ve found, more times than not, is that salary decisions in these places are all over the map, with little rhyme or reason, and often made in response to pressure (employee complaints or implicit/explicit threats of leaving).
And everyone knows it. Especially the employees.

Our salary management system may be out of step

With salary dollars being in scarce supply today and likely for the foreseeable future, having a salary structure in place ensures that there is a “median” and a set of guard rails to prevent pay decisions from falling too far off the road. And perhaps more importantly, and to Margaret’s point, having a salary structure in place typically gives employees at least a minimal amount of assurance that there are rules which are followed and that salary decisions aren’t based entirely on whim, favoritism or discrimination.
And yet, clearly, our long-held model of base salary management is falling out of step with business and economic reality.
Where do we go from here? I don’t believe that ditching structure entirely is an answer.

Broadbanding has taught us that less is not necessarily more (or is it that bigger isn’t necessarily better?). Tighter salary budgets, if that is our longer-term reality, might call for tighter ranges,  but will these fly in today’s fast-paced and fluid reality?
Do we move toward a newfangled mash-up of pay steps and ranges? Does this issue portend the long-awaited, often-touted death of the job and the corresponding advent of person-based pay?
What are you seeing, and what’s your take?
This was originally published on Ann Bares’ Compensation Force Blog
Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group.  She has over 20 years of experience consulting in compensation and performance management and has worked with a variety of organizations in auditing, designing and implementing executive compensation plans, base salary structures, variable and incentive compensation programs, sales compensation programs, and performance management systems. Her clients have included public and privately held businesses, both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, early stage entrepreneurial organizations and larger established companies. Ann also teaches at the University of Minnesota and Concordia University. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

12 Most Indispensable Things to do on Social Media Before Your Job Interview

Credit Jenny Kay Pollock on January 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

The things that knock you down in life are tests. They force you to make a choice between remaining on the ground or wiping off the dirt and standing taller than you did before.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Ten Most Common Interview Questions

The Ten Most Common Interview Questions

Are you prepared to answer these?

Tell me about yourself
Hint:  30 – 60 second prepared elevator speech.  The interviewer does not want to know that you like dogs and hate cats.  This answer should be concise and give a brief overview of your career and accomplishments.  Your answer should focus on the last 5 years.

Why do you want to work for our company
Hint:  Research the company prior to the interview.  Know what they do, the company culture, etc.

Why should we hire you
Hint:  Make sure you have read the job description and can tell the interviewer specific experience that you have had that relates to the job.

Why do you want to leave your current job
Hint:  The answer should never be “I can’t stand my current boss”.  …even if that is the “real” reason!  One more hint:  the answer should not be that you are looking to increase your salary or income potential.   Avoid making negative statements and keep your answer short.

What is your greatest strength
Hint:  Read the job description to see what the employer is really looking for in a new hire.  Your answer should be a quality that will complement the requirements of the position.

What is your greatest weakness
Hint:  Your goal is to discuss a “real” weakness, but this weakness must not hinder you from doing the job. 

Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years
Hint:  This question should be answered with regards to your career not your personal life.  The interviewer does not want to know if you plan to have children or get married in the next (x) years.  Your answer should focus on what you can do for the company.  A good approach might be to simply say, “My title may change, but it is my hope that I will join a company long-term, where I can continue to grow and contribute.”

Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person
Hint:  Rather than discuss the difficult person, answer this question in general terms.  For instance, “One of my co-workers preferred to work independently, and the project entailed us working as a team.  I approached the situation from her perspective and we came up with a way to work together and complete the project on time.”

What are your salary expectations
Hint:  Try not to answer in a dollar amount.  A good answer might be “I would like to discuss the job requirements first, so I can get a sense of the expectations.”  Or  “I am more interested in the opportunity at this point.”  If you are pressed, you may say “I am open to discussing salary, but first what is the salary range for this position?”

Tell me more about (anything else on your resume)
Hint:  If it is on your resume, it is fair game to discuss!  Be prepared.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

13 Motivational Career Quotes for 2013

Looking for a new job?  Changing your career path?  Pursuing a promotion?

Check out these 13 motivational quotes regarding careers!  Let them inspire you as they do me.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
~Steve Jobs

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”
~Jim Rohn

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself:  ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’  And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
~Steve Jobs

“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.”
~Author unknown

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”
~Oprah Winfrey

“What is the recipe for successful achievement?  To my mind there are just four essential ingredients:  Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.”
~Benjamin F. Fairless

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy.  If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace.  And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.”
~Johnny Carson

“Analyzing what you haven’t got as well as what you have is a necessary ingredient of a career.”
~Orison Swett Marden

“The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else.  Job security is gone.  The driving force of a career must come from the individual.  Remember:  Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!”
~Earl Nightingale

“A successful man continues to look for work after he has found a job.”
~Author unknown

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
~C.S. Lewis

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
~Author unknown

“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you CHOOSE!”
~Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Is It Time To Leave Your Job?

Is It Time To Leave Your Job?

It goes without saying that “we’ve all been there” at one time or another. You find that there is more negativity in your day than anything else.  You hate getting up in the morning…and find more than enough reasons to hit that snooze alarm.  Energy?  Enthusiasm?  You can’t seem to find either as you fight your way to get into the office.  Coffee…there is the reason that you are there. What you need to ask yourself, is why do I feel this way?  Have I hit a glass ceiling?  Am I no longer growing in my career?  Is my new boss stifling my ability to “do”?  What stumbling block am I dealing with? …and can it be fixed?
Many conclude that the best option is to look for a new job.  But have you done all that you can to salvage the career that you have been building?  First thing you need to do is pinpoint the problem.  There are good reasons and bad reasons for changing jobs.

Signs that it is time to move on:

1)    You are no longer having "fun".

Everyone has good days and bad days.  But when the bad days outnumber the good ones for months…it is time to move on. 

2)    Your company is struggling financially.

If you are hearing of impending layoffs and financial troubles, it makes sense to take a look around.  Job searches can take a long time…and it is easier to find a new job when you are currently employed.

3)    Your career goals cannot be met.

If there is no upward mobility and your career path is questionable, it is time to move on.  Some things cannot be changed.  For example, if your wish is to move into a management role, and you are working for a small family owned company, where you know this is not possible, then you owe it to yourself to consider looking for another job.

4)    You are not performing to the best of your ability.

We all have bad days.  But when days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, you may be burnt out.  If you are under-challenged…or (gasp!) overworked, and you see no way to change this, it is time to update that resume.
Certainly these are not the only reasons to consider making a career change.  My point is that you need to get to the source of the problem and whether or not it is fixable.  Then you need to determine your course of action.